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The studies in this book focus on Italian twentieth-century architecture, in particular design and construction techniques. The descriptions of the worksites and building processes provide a much better and clearer picture of the different modernist styles that existed in Italy; they also reveal the ‘thin red line' that characterised an univocal construction method: mixed masonry enriched (and not replaced) by reinforced concrete – a technique well suited to small artisanal worksites. This was a mild version of modern construction, in line with the role construction played in slowing down an industrialisation process which in Italy was, in itself, slow. Each chapter illustrates a specific aspect of the history of construction and highlights several new issues involving architecture in general: the important tectonic similarities which one way or another link the Littorio style and the several different kinds of rationalisms in the thirties; the continuity between the autarchic experimentation and the techniques used in reconstruction; the connection between the large-scale works designed by engineers and the architectures of the fifties and sixties, which now appear to be one of the mainstays of the unique Italian Style.
SERGIO PORETTI is full professor of Technical Architecture at Rome Tor Vergata University where in the early eighties he launched a research project on Construction History, in particular twentiethcentury buildings in Italy. He has participated in the restoration of several important works which are part of Italy's modern heritage and has published, amongst others, several books on this subject: Progetti e costruzione dei palazzi delle poste a Roma 1933-1935 (1990); La Casa del fascio di Como (1998); Pier Luigi Nervi. L'Ambasciata d'Italia a Brasilia (2008). He has also curated the following books: Il Palazzo della Civiltà italiana (2001); L'Ina Casa: il cantiere e la costruzione (2002); Il restauro delle Poste di Libera (2005); Ingegneria italiana (2007); Pier Luigi Nervi. Ingegno e costruzione. Guida alla mostra (2010); Ingegneria oggi (2012). He was awarded the ERC Advanced Grant 2011 with the project: SIXXI - Twentieth Century Structural Engineering: the Italian Contribution (2012-2017).
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